By Patrick Hawthorne
I’m stepping away from my normal writings to briefly delve into an interest of mine which is Bible prophecy. I make no claims of being an expert on Bible prophecy and have no bones about telling you, the reader, that there are many mysteries that still remain hidden. However, at their appointed time, God will bring to light those hidden things. It will be like Peter on the day of Pentecost. “This is that which was spoken…”
One subject that has always fascinated me is the subject of the Rapture and the timing of the Rapture. There are those who believe there will be a Pre-Tribulation rapture, some who believe in a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, and then those who believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture. The question is, “Who is correct?”
I must admit, when I began to seriously study Bible prophecy, this area really confused me. Although I found amble reason to believe in a Pre-Tribulation rapture, I also found compelling arguments for the mid and post tribulation raptures. But…what if all three are correct? Could there be three separate raptures? I believe so.
As a side note, typically when a student of Bible prophecy begins their initial study, they tend to flock to the Book of Revelation. To be honest, this is a very confusing book unless the student first learns some very important keys to unlock the mysteries. A large majority of these keys can be found in the Book of Daniel. Now, let’s look at the three raptures. If there is enough interest, I may go deeper into this subject.
Rapture #1 – Pre-Tribulation Rapture –
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.(1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:50-52)
The post-tribulation believers often confuse the “Trumpet of God,” with the last, or the seventh, trump written of in Revelation 11. To this, you must take note. The seventh trump in Revelation 11 is an angelic trump and was used to signify the wrath of God.
The Trump found in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 is the Trump of God. In verse 18 of 1 Thessalonians 4, we are told to comfort one another with these words. I don’t know about you but I’m not very comforted by the seventh trump in the line of wraths found in Revelation 11.
Rapture #2 – Mid Tribulation Rapture – The Great Multitude
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)
This group follows the teachings of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of Revelation 7:1-8. Arguments have been made that those raptured during mid-tribulation are Israelis and prodigal Christian’s who missed the first rapture. This come from verse 14 which says “They washed their robes,” indicating they first had to receive a robe of righteousness in order to wash it. I don’t quite know where I stand on this thought, but it is interesting. However, it is easy to see, if you are following the path of multiple raptures, that some believers are caught up after the first 3 ½ years of the tribulation.
Rapture #3 – Post Tribulation Rapture – 144,000 Jewish evangelists are received into heaven.
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. 3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:1-5)
Notice that the 144,000 are with Jesus. At one point they had to get to Jesus to be with Jesus. Other than this, the idea of a post-tribulation of the Church does not make sense to me.
For the sake of keeping this post brief, I skimmed the topic of the Rapture. My purpose was not to argue any one point, but to show that I believe all three thoughts appear to be correct and that the arguments over whose right is easily settled with, “You all are.” As I wrote above, if there appears to be interest in going further into detail, I will pursue it. Be blessed.